GPD warns of ‘alarming trend’ in OD’s
GLOVERSVILLE — City police are alerting the public to an “alarming trend” after a series of suspected overdose deaths have occurred in the city since July that remain under active investigation.
Since Jan. 1, city police this year have responded to eight separate deaths that are being investigated as suspected overdoses. Five of those suspected overdose deaths have occurred since July 1.
Officers have also responded to more than 20 drug overdose complaints in the city since the beginning of the year that required police to administer Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal drug, at 10 separate scenes.
The rise in reported overdoses and suspected overdose deaths was announced in a press release on Thursday as part of an effort to apprise the public of the situation and offer assistance to community members that police are hoping will help prevent future deaths, according to Lt. Brad Schaffer.
“We’re trying to notify the community that we have a pretty significant issue going on here,” said Schaffer. “And put it out to people who may be involved in this type of lifestyle that there are dangerous drugs in the community that if they choose to use there’s a very good possibility could result in their death.”
Schaffer confirmed that the incidents under investigation involve the use of opioids or opioids in conjunction with other prescription narcotics and that some of the reported overdoses and suspected overdose deaths that have occurred in the city are likely the result of drugs being cut together, possibly without the user’s knowledge.
“In some of these incidents, it’s possible that the people who used illicit drugs that resulted in their deaths were not aware that the drugs they were consuming were in fact what they were actually taking,” said Schaffer. “Somebody may have suspected they were suing cocaine for example when in reality they may have been using cocaine mixed with other substances that they did not have knowledge of.”
“Some of these incidents are being investigated potentially involving fentanyl,” he acknowledged.
Some of the incidents of suspected overdose deaths in the city have reportedly resulted in the arrests of suspected drug suppliers. Schaffer was unable to give specific details on those cases at this time as the investigations involving other police agencies remain active and ongoing.
Police hope sharing this information with the public, he said, will help eliminate future cases.
“We want to show that we recognize have an issue but we’re also coming to table with what might be solution,” said Schaffer.
To that end, city police reminded the public of the medication disposal box located in the lobby of the Gloversville Police Department at 3 Frontage Road. The box can be used for the disposal of unwanted, unused or expired prescription medications that can prevent those substances from being stolen or otherwise abused.
City police can also replace used supplies of Narcan for those community members trained in its administration through the department’s partnership with the state Department of Health’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Initiative.
“The police department is certainly doing our part in the administration of Narcan,” said Schaffer. “We also want to make sure we are putting Narcan in the hands of [trained] community members and also prevent some of these future overdoses.”
Officers can also provide assistance accessing available resources to members of the community interested in receiving treatment for drug use.
Anyone in need of help or interested in accessing treatment resources can call the Gloversville Police Department at (518) 773-4514.